My first live in-person COKANNA Coffee Shop since 2020 just happened. So, I thought I’d give you the Holiday Sweets & Shopping highlights!

Oliver dressed up

First off, based on your votes, Oliver dressed up for the occasion in his finest red velvet bow tie.

Holiday Sweets & Shopping Highlights, Oliver in his red velvet bow tie

Oliver in his red velvet bow tie ready to greet the guests.

It turned out to be the perfect size indoor gathering in this influenza, RSV, still Covid season. About 25 women showed up to enjoy a fun and relaxing afternoon of shopping, camaraderie, and refreshments in a coffee shop-like atmosphere. I would say that 25 is the optimal capacity for my home studio. My place becomes full of life with animated conversation and laughter without being too crowded.

Some wore face masks and others did not. It was all good. There was no judgement, just a healthy respect for each other’s comfort level and safety.

You never know who you’re going to meet

What always surprises me in a delightful way is you never know who you’re going to meet at the coffee shop. One woman came with a few members of the Ottawa Japanese community. It turns out she lives in the same neighbourhood as my nephew, Greg. They met walking their dogs. And, my sister who is Greg’s mom was also here at the coffee shop. Such a small world which makes me so happy! Particularly in these times of chaos, disruption, and polarization.

Neighbours met new neighbours. Friends met new friends. I loved hearing snippets of conversation. One woman was helping another download a translation app so she can easily translate what a friend is sending her in Japanese.

Another young lady, a Carleton University Journalism student, came across our Holiday Sweets & Shopping Fundraiser on Eventbrite. She purchased a $10 donation ticket and came to do a story on our event and the small business owners participating.

Collaborating with other small business owners

Which leads me to my next highlight. How collaborating with other small business owners makes all the hard work and loneliness of being a solo entrepreneur worthwhile.

Heidi McLaren of Wanderlust Scarves and I have collaborated on many events together from markets to fashion shows to pop-ups and more. We’ve shared in the highs and lows of small biz ownership and have supported each other along the way. Heidi is clearing out her inventory of Wanderlust Scarves. There are great deals to be had on her beautiful globally sourced scarves. Check out her online store.

Heidi McLaren and her Wanderlust Scarves

Heidi McLaren and her Wanderlust Scarves

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I have been a long time fan of Barbi Defazio and Red Raspberry Studios. I just love her fun, whimsical, and joyful art. Although Barbi has been a guest in the COKANNA Virtual Coffee Shop, this was our first market collaboration. We are both customer and fangirl of each other’s businesses. Take a peek at Barbi’s online shop.

Barbi Defazio of Red Raspberry Studios

Barbi Defazio and her whimsical & joyful art

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Raising funds for the Ottawa Food Bank

With this event, we raised well over $200 for the Ottawa Food Bank’s Holiday Food Drive. Every little bit helps at this time of year.

Even though sales are the ultimate goal of a shopping event, what really lifts me up is bringing women together to share in meaningful conversation, to discover mutual interests or new interests, to laugh together, and to create a shared experience.

The Holiday Sweets & Shopping Fundraiser was all of this and more, and when this happens, sales flow.

Thank you

A big heartfelt thank you to Heidi and Barbi for collaborating with me and making this event a success.

Holiday Sweets & Shopping Highlights, Photo of Heidi, Colleen & Barbi

Thank you Heidi and Barbi

And thank you to everyone who came out to our Holiday Sweets & Shopping event. Thank you for supporting the Ottawa Food Bank and for sharing your time and company with us.

P.S. If you’re still looking for some gift ideas, check out my online shop as well. New styles have just arrived and other styles have been marked down to 50% off.

Holiday Sweets & Shopping Fundraiser, Photo of 50% off sale

50% off sale

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Until next time,

~ Colleen

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday, Photo of Colleen Kanna and her dog Oliver

I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support local breast cancer organizations who treat the whole person and not just the disease.